Winner of 2015 Margaret Medcalf Award announced

We are thilled to announce that Dr Kerry King is the winner of the 2015 Margaret Medcalf Award with her PhD thesis: A lesser species of homicide - manslaughter, negligent and dangerous driving causing death: the prosecution of drivers in Western Australia, 1946-2011. Dr King's PhD thesis, explores the highly charged subject of manslaughter and negligent and dangerous driving causing death in Western Australia and is this year’s winner of the Margaret Medcalf Award.

Dr Kerry KingThe Award was presented this morning (24 June 2015) by the Culture and Arts Minister, Hon. John Day MLA, on behalf of the State Records Office. 

In presenting the Award, Mr Day commented that the judges had described Dr King’s archival research as "exemplary, extensive and innovative". Furthermore the judges had described the work as "confronting", with the "ability to stir public debate and shift public perception".

Dr King is a Research Fellow with the Griffith Criminology Institute.  She completed her PhD at the University of Western Australia and received the UWA Dean’s List Award.  In writing her thesis, Dr King has drawn on almost 250 prosecutions and spent many months reading the often harrowing documentation held within the State Archives. 

Her thesis covers trends in sentencing and the difficulties associated with prosecution.  Interestingly the thesis has uncovered the low penalties given to those convicted of negligent and dangerous driving causing death and the social factors which have contributed to the community viewing this form of homicide as accidental. 

The annual Margaret Medcalf Award rewards excellence in research and referencing. 

A Special Commendation was also presented to Dr Chris Owen for his PhD thesis Weather hot, flies troublesome’. Police in the Kimberley District of Western Australia 1882 – 1901 which explores the history of police treatment of Aboriginal people on the Kimberley frontier.

The judging panel this year consists of State Records Commissioner, Ms Justine McDermott, the respected historian and John Curtin Distinguished Professor at Curtin University, Anna Haebich, and State Archivist and Executive Director State Records, Cathrin Cassarchis.

The other nominees for this year's Award were: 

Jessica Barratt for Committed, an unpublished family history.

Lorraine Clarke and Cherie Strickland, for East Perth cemeteries: burials at Cemetery Hill, an electronic resource and website published by the National Trust of Australia (WA) in partnership with the Friends of Battye Library Incorporated. 

Amanda Gardiner, for Sex, death and desperation: infanticide, neonaticide and concealment of birth in colonial Western Australia. A PhD Thesis presented to the School of Psychology and Social Science; Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science at Edith Cowan University. 

Philip Goldswain, Nicole Sully and William M. Taylor (editors) for Out of place (Gwalia): occasional essays on Australian regional communities and built environments in transition. A book published by UWA Publishing.

John J. Taylor, for Between duty and design: the architect soldier Sir J. J. Talbot Hobbs. A book Published by UWA Publishing.

Ian Thomas Whyte for Harry Hunter and Sydney Hadley: wild times on a tropical coast. Also ‘Dougal’s story. An unpublished book typescript produced by Ian Whyte.

Congratulations to the winner, special commendation and all nominees.